The Wall Street Journal: Merkel’s future in doubt as German coalition negotiations break down

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BERLIN — Negotiations to form the first German government made up of center-right parties and left-leaning environmentalists collapsed, leaving the country in political limbo and raising doubts about Chancellor Angela Merkel’s political future.

Late Sunday, Christian Lindner, chairman of the small, pro-business Free Democratic Party, broke off the talks with Merkel’s conservative camp and the center-left Greens, saying four weeks of talks and extended deadlines had failed to yield the vision and necessary trust to build a government among the three partners.

“We were elected to bring about change, but we haven’t achieved this,” said Lindner, whose party got 10.7% in the Sept. 24 ballot. “It’s better not to govern than to govern wrongly.”

The collapse of talks leaves Germany with a caretaker government and Merkel without a majority in Parliament almost two months after a general election that gave her Christian Democratic Union its worst result since 1949. The political gridlock — a novelty in a country long used to ruling coalitions, compromise-making and consensus-building — casts a cloud over Merkel’s future, although analysts said none of Germany’s parties had an obvious contender to assume her mantle.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com

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